Sunday, February 6, 2011

The next African leaders to quit power

It is the beginning of February 2011.

Tunisia has kicked off the year in grand style. Now the Egyptians are also protesting, asking that their President Hosni Mubarak leave power. Despite all that he has ceded and agreed to cede, the people still want him to leave.

And the question that has been making the rounds is: who next? Where next? How?

The rumblings seem to be shaking up places. Algeria, Jordan, Sudan and Yemen have felt tremors.. Even Gabon.

On what grounds can we, as Africans, support a popular call from citizens for their leader to step down? Here are a few reasons, that we believe should qualify the ousting of a president by the people.

If you have been in power for over 10 years or spent two terms

Then it is time for you to leave. A decade is enough time for you to achieve any initial goals you set for yourself, your party or your country. It is also enough time for you to lose contact with the real people, build a pseudo kingdom made up of your advisers, and live that unreal live in which these advisers only give you positive report, only show you where the country is doing great and hide anything that is to the contrary.

If you are 80 years of age

Honestly, that is way past retirement! Does your hearing still function 100%. How about your sight? How physically fit are you? Can you still do marathon work hours? Being a President is a heavy job, being an African president is doubly heavy! But an African President at 80? You may want to see the country as one where the population are your children. And you call everybody "my son" and "my daughter". No, that is not what we want in our President. Your grandchildren need you. Your family needs you. There are quite a number of non-presidential things you can accomplish at this age with a lot of dignity. Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu are still alive, happily alive.

You may be afraid of the International War Crime Tribunal of the Hague, but that is only when you refuse to leave. When you leave willingly, every other thing can be negotiated.

If you did not win the elections

There is no point hanging on, trying to oppress the real winner. We win some, we lose some. The line that it is the "international community" or country x or y that is "against us" is as fake as the line that county A or B, that is a world power is behind you. It is not about who is against you or for you on the international arena, it is about the people who voted. Power belongs to the people not "the diabolical colonial masters" or the "strong global partners". If you did not win, quit power.

If you dont have a university degree

In the Independence years, there were not many educated Africans. But that has changed. To be frank, it is an insult in today's world to have you be at the head of a nation when you dont have a formal university degree. What you learn in University is constructive thinking, reasoning, scientific analysis of society issues, global issues and human relations. University education allows you to come out of your tribe, ethnic group, religion, region. You face the world, you make mistakes and you learn from them. You learn to sit and listen to others criticize your work, tear it down.. University education lets you understand not only how your own system works, but how others' systems also work. In 2011, if you dont have a world view, you should not be the President. Step down and go to school.

If your father was the past president

There is a problem here. How many people live in the country? How many families have raised their children to be leaders? How many families have had the honour of leading the nation since its creation? Why do you think that one family should have two successive presidents? Dont you think your family's quota is already used up? Others deserve a chance. Step aside!

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